Virtual Curriculum Fair 2014: My Dream Writing Program

I love to write. In fact I wanted to major in writing when I was in college, but I settled for taking a few writing classes as electives. However my love for writing has not helped me to teach writing to Chipette. For first and second grade we used Writing With Ease. I really liked the program and felt that it gave a good base for narrating and summarizing. Once third grade rolled around I knew that Chipette needed more than just copy work, dictation, and summaries. I had heard so many rave reviews of Institute for Excellence in Writing’s programs that I bought Student Writing Intensive-A and we jumped in. Initially the program was great. Chipette enjoyed Mr. Pudewa’s teaching style, and I felt that the key word outlines were beneficial, but then it started to fall flat. At first I thought it was just me. It seemed a little formulaic and repetitive, but if Chipette was learning, I didn’t mind. Then one day about half way through the program she came to me and asked if we could do something else. At that point I realized that it wasn’t just me; she was feeling the same way.

Now I didn’t know what to do. I wanted something that still had narrations and summations, definitely some copy work, but was a little more creative for Chipette who has a vocabulary and imagination that won’t quit. Plus throw in something that helps them learn how to write using strong parts of speech like Institute for Excellence in Writing does. Not a huge wish list, huh? Winking smile 

We dropped Student Writing Intensive-A and were continuing with Writing with Ease 3 since I didn’t know what else to do, when I heard about a new writing program that was on the market from Classical Academic Press called Writing and Rhetoric. I looked at the generous three week sample and I was sold. I’ve never been so rash with my homeschool budget, but I knew that this was what fit my wish list from above so I preordered it before it was even released. Meanwhile, I printed out the three week sample and had Chipette start working through the program. It didn’t take long before she was in agreement with me. It was really fun and she was learning a lot about what makes a good writer and good writing.

Writing and Rhetoric

Things I love about Writing and Rhetoric:

Super Easy to Teach. Everything is laid out clearly in the teacher’s manual.

Sentence Play Section. In my opinion this is where the learning how to be a good writer takes place. A sample sentence is given and students are instructed to change out different parts of speech for stronger synonyms of the original word or to change word order and phrase placement to see which is a better choice.

Elocution. I didn’t even know that this was a focus in the books when I ordered them, but I am SO grateful that it is included. Chipette is a great reader, but when she reads orally she tends to rush and skip words. All of the practice with oral readings and the elocution instruction in the book are helping her with this a lot!

Memory Work. Another pleasant surprise from this program is the passages that are included to be memorized. In the Fable book students are expected to memorize a fable, two poems, and their own story summary. Some of the memorization was really long for Chipette, but we took our time and eventually she got it.

Discussion Prompts. I will be eternally grateful to Writing and Rhetoric for helping me know how to talk to Chipette about writing. Early on in the Fable book she had to compare her own writing to a sample in the book and determine which was better written and why. She immediately noticed that the sample in the book was superior to hers so we began discussing why. I immediately noticed a change in her writing on the next exercise. Our discussion had helped her understand what she needed to improve and do so!

Things Chipette Loves About Writing and Rhetoric:

Recording her narrations and summaries. I don’t know why I had never thought of this before, but she ADORES taking the iPod and recording herself reading her own work. I then download it to the computer and we play it later that night for the entire family. This has also made her more aware of making sure her elocution is clear and controlled.

Amplifications and Rewrites. I told you that Chipette has imagination in spades….well this is where she gets to shine. Writing and Rhetoric lets her expand on classic tales and completely rewrite them with new characters, but the same basic plot. She will spend a long time getting her story just write with no pressuring from me.

If you are interested in learning more about Classical Academic Press’ Writing and Rhetoric program please check out their website. It explains more about the program and offers that fabulous three-week sample so you can see if this would work for your 3rd or 4th grade student.

Writing and Rhetoric: Fable

Also be sure and check out the other curriculum being reviewed and discussed by these other bloggers in the Virtual Curriculum Fair.


Language Arts {Virtual Curriculum Fair} by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

A Classical Take on 6th Grade Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

The Power in a Word by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

The Latin Road to English Grammar Volume 1 by Kristi K. @ The Potter's Hand Academy

Starting a Foreign Language in Elementary School by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

These are the words we say by Christa @ Fairfield Corner Academy

A Peek into our Homeschool: Language Arts by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ English by Renata~Sunnyside Farm Fun

Virtual Curriculum Fair: A World of Words by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

It Starts with the Alphabet by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Playing w/ Words-Charlotte Mason Style by Lynn P @ Ladybug Chronicles

2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life

Our PreK-1st Grade Language Arts Mix by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

Fun (or Not) With Spelling by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Word Nerd Love by Lisa N@Golden Grasses

Our Favourite Resources For Teaching Elementary Language Arts by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Unconventional Reading Lessons While Homeschooling by Lori@My Journeys Through Life

My Favorite Writing Curriculum for our Boys by Monique @Living Life and Learning

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Playing With Words - Language Arts  by Stacie @Super Mommy To The Rescue

Fun With the Language Arts by Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool

Our Grammar Path by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Virtual Curriculum Fair !!! by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Creating a High School English Course (or two) by Debra @Footprints in the Butter

Language Arts in Our Homeschool This Year by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Writing and Rhetoric reigns supreme in the tree house,



  1. Informative post! I am have a new education site now and am slowly working on curricula for various subjects. I enjoyed your breakdown and it gives me quite a bit to think about when working on things for DUO Education. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I envy those of you who are able to write full curricula. It's quite impressive.

  2. I've heard great things about CAP Writing program. You've convinced me to look at it more closely- thanks!

    1. I think it's a great program! No problems so far.

  3. I discovered this in December and thought this is exactly what I need. Thank you so much for this post and it just served to confirm my choice. This is also a rarity when it comes to rash decision of curricula for me. Glad I saw your post before I actually bought it. It sounds like the reasons why you like it are exactly what I am looking for. So excited, can't wait to get it.

    1. We have been using it for about four months now and I still love it just as much as when we started it. I'm so glad that they are on schedule for the release of the next set of books because I can see us sticking with this for the long haul. I hope you love it too!

  4. We LOVE their Song School Latin resources and I'll admit that this newest stuff of theirs caught my eye. I'm so glad to hear it's working for you and Chipette. It just moved up the list of contenders with me for next year's resources. We are currently doing WWE and although I don't have complaints and Mira completes her lessons happily, it does seem to be feeling a bit dry to me right now. Maybe I'm getting bored.... On one hand I'm personally ready for something new but on the other hand- I hate "fixing" something that isn't broke. Would doing both WWE and this be redundant and a waste of time?

    1. For about the first month or so I did WWE 3 along with Writing and Rhetoric, but then I dropped it since Fable was working so well. You could definitely use them together without much overlap. The summaries and dictations in WWE are definitely more difficult, but I don't necessarily see that as a good thing. HTH.

  5. We are using the Rhetoric: Fable program too, but I haven't decided if I love it. We also use WWE and Writing Aids from TOG. Writing Aids is my favorite, but my son prefers workbook programs for now, so I mix it up.

    1. I've looked at Writing Aids more than once, but I think that I need a little more hand holding than that. Plus, we're not using Tapestry of Grace. :)

  6. I've never heard of this program, but I think I need to check it out. I have one child who is a particularly struggling writer.

    1. I think it would be a good program for kids who struggle with knowing what to write and also for kids who enjoy writing. I think it would work well with both. Definitely give the three week sample a try to see how your struggling writer does with it.

  7. I've been looking at Writing and Rhetoric---thank you sharing this!

    1. You are more than welcome! And thanks for hosting the VCF again!

  8. Thank you for your review. We've loved using LFC from CAP, and when I saw the new writing curriculum, it certainly sparked my interest. I have used WWE 4 and am now finishing up WWS with my older son who enjoys writing (creatively, that is). While I do love what WWE & WWS teach, they are a bit dry for someone who loves to write. I am bringing my younger son home from public school next year and he does not seem to enjoy writing. He is a gifted child, and thinks way outside of the box, but not for writing for some reason--he struggles with writing from personal experience which seems to be the focus in PS. I am wondering which would be a better fit, WWE 3 or Writing and Rhetoric. Since you've used both, do you have any advice?